Responsible Electricity Transmission for Albertans
The Real Cost
There has been endless speculation regarding the cost of undergrounding the Heartland Line. Well RETA decided to hire underground experts and accounting firm Meyers Norris Penny to look at the application submitted by AltaLink and EPCOR to find where gold-plating and unreasonable assumptions were made. We also asked them to consider alternative, more practical designs, and to compare the costs of these with what the Heartland Team submitted. The results are part of our submission to the AUC but we thought we’d put them up here:
The bottom line is that the Heartland Team, through sleight of hand and making ridiculous assumptions said that putting 20km of the line underground would cost $1.1B, and when our team was done we had costs of around $668M or $424M less than theirs. What this means is that burying 20km would only cost $87M more than the $581M they say it will cost to put the whole line overhead. That’s 15%! A far cry from the “4 to 20 times” their propaganda campaign talked endlessly about over the past 3 years.
Also, keep in mind that they had years to “engineer” their number and we only had a very short time to dissect it and suggest alternatives. There are many other alternatives that we didn’t have the time or resources to explore including one 45km all-underground route which gets the power to the Heartland where they claim they need it and doesn’t needlessly cross the North Saskatchewan River.
The bottom line is they don’t want underground to happen and they will deceive everyone, gold-plate their “solution”, and, in short, do anything they can to prevent it from happening. I’m pleased to say, thanks to some very talented people, we’ve called their bluff.